West Ham Utd manager Slaven Bilic is baffled how his team came to be 2-0 down after 15 minutes against Newcastle – a setback from which they never fully recovered.
A consolation goal by Nikica Jelavic early in the second half prompted hopes of a revival but Bilic said all their natural advantages, including confidence, were gone.
He told the club’s website : “We prepared the game all week so I felt we were going to start better. We were the team that should have started with more confidence than them.
“We were unbeaten for a number of games, and we were counting on confidence to be on our side, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case.
“We needed the half-time talk and the 15-minute break to come back into the shape and condition that is required when you play in the Premier League.
“We could have nicked a point, and it wouldn’t have been the first time, but we have to admit that they were better. They deserved to beat us, especially with their performance in the first half.”
The east London club’s undoing might have been down to the presence in the opposition ranks of Jonjo Shelvey. The £12million disgruntled signing from Swansea had a lot to prove – and not a little talent – which perhaps West Ham had not accounted for.
Newcastle manager Steve McClaren was full of praise for the ex-Charlton man.
He said: “The speed of his passes gives you that extra two seconds and defences can’t recover. That’s the difference between top midfielders and average ones.
“Jonjo was like a quarterback. He can dictate play. He can pick it up from the back. He can get forward. He can pass. He can tackle. He can head. He’s a big asset.”
Follow The Wharf on Twitter @the_wharf .
Keep up to date with all our articles on Facebook .